Sen. Tom Udall compared the Trump administration’s plan to house illegal immigrant families on military bases to the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.
“The situation the President is moving us towards is a real humanitarian crisis,” Udall, a New Mexico Democrat, said on CNN’s “The Situation Room,” “because now we’re going to put families in big camps on military bases.”
He added, “We haven’t done that in the US until the last time I can remember – which was the Japanese internment.”
Udall added he sees “very serious constitutional concerns” in White House press secretary Sarah Sanders’ remark earlier Monday that “just because you don’t see a judge doesn’t mean you don’t see due process.”
He referred to the “doing away of judges” as a “tyrannical power grab.”
“We’re a country where people seek asylum. … Many of them do not win their cases … and end up going back to their country, but at least we give them that due process,” Udall said to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.
Further, “throwing all of (their) prosecution resources” at misdemeanor crimes – such as improper entry – is a big misstep by the Trump administration, Udall said.
“There are very serious crimes that are going to go unattended,” he said. “It means you’re going to prosecute people for misdemeanors, but then you’re going to let loose the bank robbers, the murderers. … You’re not going to be prosecuting.”
Udall, who traveled to the southwest border Friday, expressed concerns from his visit regarding the psychological toll on children separated from their parents.
“What we’re talking about is very serious psychological damage, things that can last a lifetime,” Udall said.
Upon talking to the children at the temporary housing in Tornillo, Texas, he learned that many of them had been “held for two or three or four months … a long time to be away from parents.”
What also worries Udall is the lack of “accountability in terms of this separation” of families.
“There’s no plan,” he said. “The Cabinet secretaries haven’t stepped forward. I’m unaware of any hearings that are going to be held to get those Cabinet secretaries that have responsibility up here.”
“The President should go down to the border and see the chaos he’s caused in the system,” Udall added.